The CDC has issued its report on the mumps outbreak at Berkeley last year.
While we initially heard of two confirmed cases and a third suspected case of mumps, the CDC report, "Mumps Outbreak on a University Campus - California, 2011," adds another 26 cases to the outbreak, which lasted from August 25, 2011 to January 7, 2012.
As with many of the recent measles outbreaks in the United States, this mumps outbreak started with an unvaccinated student traveling to Europe. He returned, got sick, and proceeded to directly and indirectly get an additional 28 people sick, including four who developed orchitis (testicular inflammation).
The report highlights several important things, including that:
- vaccinated people can still get mumps when they have extended person-to-person contact with someone who is sick with mumps.
- accurate diagnosis of vaccine-preventable diseases can be delayed as vaccines have done such a good job of preventing them in most communities. Instead of mumps, the first patient was diagnosed with cellulitis and it wasn't until he later developed testicular pain that doctors suspected mumps.
- reporting of vaccine-preventable diseases to local and state health departments, which can help to control outbreaks, can also be delayed. It wasn't until at least two generations of transmission had occurred that the health department in California was finally notified.
- colleges that don't require proof of having had the MMR series make it difficult to target immunization of unvaccinated or undervaccinated students to help control an outbreak.
In addition to encouraging everyone to get fully vaccinated, especially matriculating students who should have documentation of receipt of 2 doses of MMR before entering college, the CDC report advises that "heightened clinical awareness of mumps, appropriate testing, and rapid reporting of suspected cases to public health authorities is essential for limiting outbreaks."
Kids have plenty to do and worry about when they get into college. They shouldn't have to worry about getting mumps from someone in their dorm too.